FAQs

The most important information about EarBuddies™ is included in the main body of the website. Please ensure you have read the information in the main body of the website before looking for the answer to your question below.

How do I know if my baby needs EarBuddies™?

For most babies, the question is purely a matter of appearance, and so the decision to splint is entirely up to you as a parent.

The only exceptions would be:

  • In babies with hearing problems, as behind-the-ear hearing aids fit best if the ears do not stick out.
  • If the conchal bowl is deformed and might make in-the-ear headphones / hearing aids difficult to wear.
Can my baby's funny-looking ears get better on their own?

Ears which are squashed or folded over at birth can unfold and regain their shape somewhat, if not completely. If an ear is not back to normal at 48 hours after birth, it should be splinted.

Can my baby's ear condition be fixed by EarBuddies™?

We are not able to give individual medical advice, but you can see which problems EarBuddies™ can correct on the website.

If your baby's ear condition does not appear in our guide of common problems, you can book a consultation with an EarBuddies™ Professional.

Currently not all healthcare professionals, including paediatricians, doctors and even plastic surgeons, are well informed about neonatal splintage (as is noted in the medical literature). We are working to increase awareness amongst the wider healthcare profession, but in the meantime, we would advise you to be sceptical if you are told there is nothing you can do. If your doctor is not well informed about neonatal splintage, (a doctor cannot be an expert in every area!), please direct him/her to the independent medical literature on the following page.

How much improvement can I expect with EarBuddies™?

Stick-Out Ears, Lop Ears, Rim Kinks and Fold-Over Ears are easier to correct than Stahl’s Bar, Cryptotia, Stick-Out Lobe and Conchal Crus. Cup ears are the most difficult to correct, since there is a lack of tissue in the rim. If you start early and splint for the recommended times, then almost all Stick-Out Ears, Lop Ears, Rim Kinks and Fold-Over Ears can be corrected, and most Stahl’s Bars, Cryptotia, Stick-Out Lobes and Conchal Crus can be corrected. Even if splintage does not begin until baby is Older, in most cases splintage can effect a significant improvement, although the time required is longer and more perseverance is required. Every case is different, and we do not give guarantees, but the results show that diligence and persistence is really worthwhile in almost all cases.

Can I really fit these myself without any experience? What if I do it wrong?

Very many thousands of baby ears have been treated safely and successfully by parents (and grandparents!), and in over twenty years of worldwide sales, we have never had an ear which has ended up worse as a result of splinting. We know that new parents have quite enough on their plate without having to splint, but if you can save your baby an ear operation costing on average £5,000 in the UK, or teasing and self-confidence problems in the future, it will all be worth it. If you read the instructions thoroughly and persevere, the long-term results will far outweigh the short-term inconvenience. If you want further reassurance, see the results menu for feedback from other EarBuddies™ parents.

Where can I send pictures to get some individual advice?

We are not able to give individual medical advice. In the first instance, have a look at the common problems page to see which problems EarBuddies™ can correct, and read all pages of the ‘How it Works’ menu on the website for a good base understanding of neonatal splintage.

If you still think you need specialist advice, or would prefer to have EarBuddies™ fitted by a Professional, please see the Professional Fitting page.

I am nervous about fitting EarBuddies™. Is there anyone who can help?

Yes. Over 98% of EarBuddies™ are fitted by parents themselves, and EarBuddies™ were designed with this in mind, but if you would prefer to have professional help, see the following page to find your nearest EarBuddies™ Professional.

I have visited my Doctor and keep being told not to worry. I've also been advised by my paediatrician that my baby's ears can't be splinted. Is this correct?

We would advise you to be sceptical if you are told “not to worry”, or that neonatal splintage “won’t work”. Not all healthcare professionals, including paediatricians, doctors and even plastic surgeons, are well informed about neonatal splintage (as is noted in the literature on the following page). We are working to increase awareness amongst the wider healthcare profession and we would be grateful if you would direct your doctor/healthcare professional to the link above if you feel you have been misinformed or ill-advised (a doctor cannot be an expert in every area!).

There is a huge amount of information on this website about EarBuddies™ and neonatal splintage. If, after reading the information on the website, you believe your baby is outside the ’normal’ range considered to be suitable for EarBuddies™, we would highly recommend a consultation with an EarBuddies™ Professional.

Could my baby swallow the splints?

The splints are specially shaped so that the likelihood of entering the windpipe or gullet is very small, but you should always be absolutely sure that the splint is properly and securely fixed using the recommended Adhesive Tapes we supply. Other tapes may be inferior and may not properly fix the splints in place.

Our baby was born six weeks prematurely. Should the duration of splinting be calculated from the actual date of birth or from the projected date of birth?

The length of splinting should be calculated from the actual date of birth, since this is the point at which the influence of mum's hormones on the hardening of the cartilage is mostly removed, even in breast-fed babies.

I want my baby to have swimming lessons. Can I leave EarBuddies™ on?

It is best to remove the splints before each swimming lesson, in case they are lost in the pool. Make sure you refit the splints as soon as possible, as you can quickly lose the benefit of the correction, particularly early in the splintage period.

We’re going away on holiday (vacation) next week and will be in the pool every day. What do you suggest we do regarding splinting the ears?

It is best to remove the splints before swimming, in case they are lost in the pool. Make sure you refit the splints as soon as possible, as you can quickly lose the benefit of the correction, particularly early in the splintage period.

If you decide to remove the splints for the entire holiday, it would be prudent to add at least double the amount of time missed to the total length of the splintage period.

My baby has eczema. Can I use EarBuddies™?

If eczema is present behind the ears, it may make the use of EarBuddies™ more complicated and we would recommend taking advice from a paediatric dermatologist.

If you decide to use EarBuddies™ whilst your baby has eczema behind the ears, be aware that skin maceration is possible when two surfaces are closely in contact, causing the skin to swell and become red (you may find it helpful to read the information on inflammation below). Check the area regularly (with the tapes in place) to ensure that the eczema-irritated skin is not becoming increasingly inflamed. When you change the tapes, we would recommend using Medihoney to soothe the skin, and allowing the area to ‘air’ before reapplying the tapes.

Cavilon Spray creates a barrier film which may be very helpful in preventing moisture reaching the eczema-affected area and causing maceration.

Paradoxically, children who develop a tissue reaction, and children with eczema, often achieve a better, quicker result, perhaps because the influx of prostaglandins into the inflamed area has a beneficial effect in speeding up cartilage maturation (the hardening process).

I wanted to pierce my baby’s ears soon. I wonder whether I can apply the tape without covering the piercing, or whether the pressure of the tape on the ear would still cause the piercing to bother her? Or would you recommend waiting until she has finished the whole EarBuddies™ process to pierce her ears?

The safest thing would always be to wait until the EarBuddies™ splintage period is finished. However, if the ears are prominent ONLY, and do not need to be treated for any other conditions, you should be able to fit the EarBuddies™ Splints and Adhesive Tape without covering the lobe, and there should not be a problem with a piercing of the lobe of the ear (see the picture for appropriate tape placement).

If the ears need to be treated for other conditions, such as Stick-Out Lobe, the Adhesive Tape will need to be fitted lower down the ear and will likely cover the lobe; we would strongly advise against having ear piercings in place in this situation.

Our 6 month old baby has plagiocephaly and has to wear a helmet to correct a flat spot on the left side of his head. His left ear still sticks out more than his right. Can he wear the splints at the same time as the helmet?

It is normally perfectly possible to wear both an orthotic helmet and EarBuddies™ splints.

What is the maximum age at which EarBuddies™ can still be effective?

Early splintage is best, but even starting as late as 18 months may not be too late, especially if baby is still breastfed, as this keeps the ear cartilage softer for longer. When EarBuddies™ were first introduced, we said that splintage was effective in babies of up to 6 months, but that limit has been steadily increasing. We have had parents report success with splintage starting at 4 years old and independent research into splintage in Japan shows that it can be effective in much older children and even in teenagers. However, the level of success achievable is heavily dependent upon perseverance and we would only recommend that you begin using EarBuddies™ after your baby is 18 months if you are prepared to be very persistent.

What age is a Newborn Baby / Older Baby?

We call babies 'Newborn' from birth until 1 month old. We call babies over one month of age 'Older Babies', with the exception of babies who are born prematurely. Babies who are born two weeks prematurely are considered to be Older Babies at 5 weeks, babies born one month prematurely are considered to be Older Babies at six weeks of age, and so on.

Could my Older Baby pull off the splints?

Older Babies may have the co-ordination to put their hands up to the sides of their heads, and could pull at the splints. Ensure SuperWide Tape is included in your order to hold the splinted ear to the side of the head. If your baby has the dexterity to get their fingers under the tapes, you will find it helpful to put a strip of Wide Tape at the top of the ear, to close off the groove between the ear and the side of the head (see Step 6 of the Fitting Guide), to discourage any ear tugging, for example, during teething.

Are there special tips to make EarBuddies™ splints work in Older Babies?

Firstly, we would recommend the Premium Pack for babies over 1 month old; it contains the Basic Kit plus additional supplies required for a longer splintage period including extra Adhesive Tape, Adhesive Remover Wipes, Barrier Film and a custom baby hair shaver.

Baby’s skin becomes greasier and sweats more with age, so make sure baby’s ears are thoroughly clean and dry before fitting (see Step 2 of the Fitting Guide).

Ensure SuperWide Tape is included in your order to hold the splinted ear to the side of the head. Older Babies may have the co-ordination to put their hands up to the sides of their heads, and could pull at the splints. If your baby has the dexterity to get their fingers under the tapes, you will find it helpful to put a strip of Wide Tape at the top of the ear, to close off the groove between the ear and the side of the head (see Step 6 of the Fitting Guide), to discourage any ear tugging, for example, during teething.

Can EarBuddies™ splints work in adults?

Independent research into splintage in Japan shows that it can be effective in much older children and even in teenagers. However, in some of the case studies, the splints were worn for twelve months up to several years. Such extremes of use require exceptional dedication and would be less acceptable in Western society.

What are the alternatives to EarBuddies™?

The alternatives to EarBuddies™ are either surgery, or camouflage (usually hiding the ears with a hair style). Surgery is best undertaken from the age of five years, when the cartilage is hard enough to prevent the stitches from "cheese-wiring" through it, and hopefully before the child is teased. Whilst prominent ears are relatively easy to fix for an experienced surgeon, other ear conditions described here are considerably more difficult to correct.

Plastic Surgeon David Gault FRCS, one of the world's foremost experts on the external ear, and developer of EarBuddies™, consults in London and also via Skype. Because of the risk of haematoma and ensuing infection after pinnaplasty (otoplasty) with some surgical techniques, he recommends the Gault technique for correction of prominent ears. This has been independently verified to be the most reliable and safe approach. The outer external surface of the ear is untouched and the surgical correction work is undertaken only on the posterior, hidden surface of the ear. However, David Gault FRCS says “Although safe surgery is good, no surgery is better”.

What are the EarBuddies™ splints made of?

EarBuddies™ splints are made of medical grade plastics, silicones and inert metals.

My baby was born prematurely and the ears are tiny – will the splints be too long to fit?

In very premature babies the ears will indeed continue to grow until 28 weeks of age. The curved end of the splint should be placed in the usual position and any over-length portion can be positioned over the lobe. The splint should never be cut to reduce its length.

Are the EarBuddies™ splints a universal size?

All EarBuddies™ splints are the same size. However, like fingerprints, all ears are unique, and EarBuddies™ splints should be manipulated to fit the required shape (see Step 5 of the Fitting Guide).

Could the splints be too small for my baby’s ears?

EarBuddies™ splints come in only one size, and are used by some surgeons in adult ears post-surgery, so there should be no problem with the size of the splint in a baby's ears, even if they are large. The “active area” of splinting takes place between positions B2 and B4 (see fitting guide), and particularly around position B1. The top of the scaphal hollow of the ear is used only to “store” the redundant length of the splint in smaller ears. In larger ears, you should place the midpoint of the splint between position B1 and position B3, and apply the tapes as directed, in the order directed.

I have lost a splint - can I buy a single splint?

The splints are only available as part of the Basic Kit or Premium Pack, and we are not able to supply splints individually. The Basic Kit is therefore the cheapest way to buy the splints. You can purchase a Basic Kit in our Online Store.

Can I re-use the splints for another baby?

Whilst some parents report success (and a trouble free splintage period) when reusing old splints, we do not recommend it and take no responsibility for the denaturing of old materials.

Which kit should I order? Do I need to buy extra tape?

The EarBuddies™ Basic Kit contains enough Adhesive Tape to ensure that both ears can be corrected in a newborn, but if your baby is older, you will need to order the Premium Pack or purchase additional Adhesive Tapes.

The EarBuddies™ Premium Pack contains the following extra Adhesive Tapes: 4 pouches of SuperWide Adhesive Tapes, 3 pouches of Wide Adhesive Tapes, 2 pouches of Narrow Adhesive Tapes.

A longer period of splintage may require extra Adhesive Tape and Adhesive Remover in addition to the Premium Pack. The quantity of supplies required varies in each individual case based on the length of splintage period, the type of ear problem, the properties of your baby's skin, your ability to keep the tapes dry, rate of progress, etc. As a rough guide, most parents use 1 or 2 additional packs of SuperWide Tape (each containing two pouches of tape) per month of splinting (assuming both ears are splinted).

The SuperWide tapes are the cheapest way to buy the tape, and they can be cut into strips to make the Narrow Tapes (which hold the EarBuddies™ Splint to the ear), and used uncut to hold the splinted ear to the head. However, if you are likely to find that cutting the tape is too fiddly, you can buy extra supplies of Wide Tapes, Narrow Tapes or both, which will save you the bother.

My EarBuddies™ order has arrived but I can’t see the Splints/Adhesive Tape?


The splints are in the EarBuddies™ Basic Kit; usually the lower ends of the splints are tucked into the rim of the hat or beanie. Occasionally the splints move out of position during transit and may slip down below the rim of the headwear. You will also find the Adhesive Tapes inside the headwear.

Can't I use ordinary, cheaper tape instead of the Adhesive Tapes that EarBuddies™ sell?

The medical grade, latex-free, sterile Adhesive Tapes we supply are tough enough to hold the ear in place, but gentle on the skin and hypoallergenic. Do not use inferior tape - without the correct hypoallergenic, tensile and adhesive properties, skin shear, inflammation and soreness is likely, and the correction will be much slower and less successful. To find out more about our the Adhesive Tapes we supply, click here.

I dropped one of the splints on the floor. Do I need to disinfect the splints or use boiling water to clean them?

Do not use water hotter than hand-washing temperature as it can denature the silicones of the splint. Do not use household soaps or other household cleaners to cleanse the splints as a residue can remain and cause skin irritation. If you need to clean the splints, wash them with warm water and baby soap.

Do I need to shave some hair?

It is best to shave the hair from the areas on which the Adhesive Tapes will stick, otherwise they may not stick properly and changing them will be difficult. Shaving a little hair around the ears will do your baby no harm - remember: hair grows back quickly, but prominent or deformed ears are permanent if not corrected.

Our Premium Packs come with a custom ergonomic EarBuddies™ Shaver by Wahl™, (alkaline battery, brush and shaver oil included), which is designed to gently remove the fine hair around the ear.

One ear sticks out more than the other – should I splint both?

We would recommend that both ears are splinted if either sticks out even slightly, since as the cartilage hardens the ear is likely to protrude more. However, ear deformity is often asymmetric, and if one ear is completely normal then you need only apply the splint to the abnormal ear.

If I splint both ears, could splintage work too well on the less prominent ear?

The splint acts to reform the normal antihelix and scaphal hollow. This is the part of the ear which naturally allows it to sit against the side of the head. It should not cause the ear to look abnormally 'stuck' to the side of the head, and the match of the two ears should improve greatly.

Can’t I just tape the ears back without EarBuddies™ splints?

No - merely taping an ear back without the splint in place is not effective, and can cause kinking, flattening or notching of the rim of the ear, which may not become noticeable until later in life. EarBuddies™ splints work by resetting the tendency of the cartilage to push the ear out from the side of the head. The pressure of the splint in the scaphal hollow actually reforms the antihelix (antihelical fold), which is usually missing or abnormal in prominent or misshapen ears.

Do I have to tape the splinted ear to the side of the head?

Yes - for the splint to exert sufficient pressure on the cartilage folds of the ear, it is necessary to tape the ear to the side of the head. Simply taping a splint to the ear will have little or no effect in reshaping it.

How tight should the tape be?

The Wide/SuperWide Adhesive Tape used to hold the ear back against the side of the head should be fixed so that it exerts sufficient pressure on the splint to reform the cartilage folds of the ear without being stretched or pulled very taut. Tape which is too loose will not reform the ear shape, and tape which is applied under excessive tension may cause the delicate skin to shear or blister.

We have fitted the splints. We used the SuperWide tape to hold baby’s ear to the side of the head, but her ear hole (canal) is completely taped over; is this bad for her hearing and do her ears need to breathe? Should we make a hole in the tape, or redo the tapes completely?

The Adhesive Tapes that EarBuddies™ supply are breathable to reduce the trapping of moisture. There is no evidence to suggest that covering the external auditory meatus (ear canal) with our thin, breathable tapes affects a baby’s hearing or speech development.

If you still feel concerned, when you next change the tapes, leave a small gap between the tapes for peace of mind.

The tapes are not staying stuck for long - what can I do?

In newborn babies, the waxy birth coating over the skin can remain after birth, and this can prevent the tapes from sticking well. In older babies, moisture from the developing sweat glands and sebaceous glands can prevent the Adhesive Tapes from sticking as well as they should.

In both cases, ensure the ear and surrounding area is thoroughly clean and dry before refitting (see Step 2 of the Fitting Guide). Be sure to use our medical-grade, hypoallergenic, breathable Adhesive Tapes for a strong fix. David Gault FRCS recommends that Cavilon Barrier Film is also used in this situation. Cavilon provides a layer of Barrier Film to protect baby’s skin, and also helps the Adhesive Tapes to stick better.

How often should I change the tapes?

Change the tapes if they are wet or are no longer doing their job, but not simply because they look a little dog-eared and grubby. By the first time you do this, you should see the beginnings of what can be achieved. In newborns, you can usually make a single tape application do the trick, but in babies older than two to three weeks, you will normally have to change the tapes at least once.

If the Narrow Tapes are well fixed, but the Wide Tape has become loose, you can change just the Wide Tape. We recommend leaving the part which is well-adhered in place, trimming the non-adherent part, and then attaching a new tape over the top (provided the skin looks healthy and dry). This can allow good fixation for another few weeks, after which the whole lot can be soaked off in the bath. In newborns, in particular, the tapes can stick so well that they are difficult to remove, and in this case, we recommend Adhesive Remover Wipes.

Does my baby need to keep EarBuddies™ on at all times, even when she bathes? Or should we change the tapes after each bath?

EarBuddies™ should be worn 24/7 if possible, but if you need to change the tapes, bath time is a good time to do it. On the other hand, if the tapes are well-stuck and you don’t get them wet, you don’t have to change them at every bath-time.

How do I keep the tapes dry when my baby is so splashy in the bath?

Some parents use a small plastic shower cap but you must ensure that it does not go over baby's face.

My baby seems to be agitated and uncomfortable. Do you have any helpful tips?

The splints are best worn 24 hours a day; they are made to be comfortable, and your baby should be able to sleep on a splinted ear untroubled. Older babies who are teething may appear more fretful than usual. The most common problem related to EarBuddies™ is hair is prickling beneath the tapes and causing unnecessary irritation.

When changing the adhesive tapes, and prior to bathing, remember to shave any hair that has grown since you last fitted the tapes, to prevent new hair growth prickling beneath the tapes.

Could my baby be allergic to the tapes?

EarBuddies™ only supply medical-grade, hypoallergenic and sterile Adhesive Tape. True allergy to these Adhesive Tapes is extremely rare, even in children with sensitive skin. If baby’s ear appears to be inflamed, this is far more likely to be caused by trapped moisture. See the FAQ below for information on how to deal with inflammation.

The front end of the splint keeps popping out of the front of the ear (position A3 - see Step 5 of the Fitting Guide) – what can I do?

If the end of the splint (at the top of the ear) won’t stay in, then you may need to twist it further inwards, so that when you lay the EarBuddies™ splint on the table it no longer lies flat. Remember that if you look at your baby's head from above, it is an ellipse, not a rectangle, and so the splint should ideally not only follow the curve of your baby's ear, but also the overall curve of the side of the baby's head.

The splint is causing rubbing / indentation on my baby's ear. What can I do?

If the splint is causing any rubbing or an indentation on your baby’s ear, it has been fitted wrongly and needs to be remoulded to fit your baby's individual ear shape. Please see diagrams and videos in Step 5 of the Online Fitting Guide.

The splint has been in for 4 days, and I can see that the rim of her ear is red as well as the cartilage of the antihelix. Should I remove the tape and splint?

The type of redness shown in the picture looks to be ‘capillary injection’, and is essentially local blood vessel swelling in the area. This may be a natural response to the change in the shape of the cartilage framework, which is entirely normal. However, if the area becomes increasingly red or swollen, then this may be a sign of inflammation, and we would recommend removing the tapes and splints, and allowing the area to settle before continuing with splintage.

Capillary Injection in a Baby's Ear
My baby’s ears are smelling a bit cheesy. Is this normal?

A bad odour could result from a build-up of skin debris, usually in the groove behind the ear, or it may indicate inflammation or infection. A build-up of debris can in turn cause inflammation, and if allowed to persist, this can lead to infection. A smell can also occur if you allow the tapes to become wet and absorbent. Regardless of whether the problem is a build-up of skin debris, inflammation or infection, you should immediately remove the splints and adhesive tapes, and follow the instructions in the FAQ related to inflammation below.

My baby’s ear looks inflamed. Why has this happened and what should I do?

Although it is very uncommon, inflammation can occur during the splintage process. Most often it is behind the ear, and occasionally under the splint. It is caused by skin maceration as a result of moisture (sweating, bath water, dribble or posset). A layer of moisture between the two surfaces closely in contact can cause the skin to swell and become red. If the inflammation is allowed to persist, the skin’s surface can break down and start to weep, and can even become infected. Some skins are more sensitive to moisture than others.

Remove the tape and splints as soon as you notice inflammation, and allow the area to heal fully (Medihoney can help to soothe the skin). Wash the splints with warm water and baby soap, then continue with splintage using fresh Adhesive Tape, clean and dry splints, and with baby freshly bathed and dried. It is essential to keep the ears dry and clean. After any episode of inflammation, you should use Cavilon Spray which creates a barrier film to protect sensitive skin.

Always follow the Fitting Guide closely and remember that it is of paramount importance to thoroughly wash your hands with soap, and dry them on clean towel, before you fit the splints, and every time you change the tapes. Monitor the area closely and remove the tape and splints immediately if any inflammation reoccurs; as before, allow the area to heal completely before applying the splints again. If you are having trouble keeping the area clean and dry, change the tapes more regularly as a precaution.

Remember - inflammation is temporary, but early ear correction will make a permanent, positive change to your child’s life, and should avoid teasing and surgery, so patience and perseverance are essential. Ears often drift out in the first six months of life, so the more you can keep the splints in place, the higher the chance of preventing the ears from drifting out further, and the higher the chance of permanently reducing the existing prominence.

Paradoxically, children who develop a tissue reaction, and children with eczema, often achieve a better, quicker result, perhaps because the influx of prostaglandins into the inflamed area has a beneficial effect in speeding up cartilage maturation (the hardening process).

If an infection persists or is recurrent, you should consult a medical professional.

My baby keeps posseting (vomiting), and his ears kept getting wet. I have had to take the splints off twice for a week each time because they became red. Should I add this time to the total splinting time?

There is no definite splintage period that suits all situations, but it is always safer to add at least double the amount of time missed to the total length of the splintage period for the best chance of a good result.

My baby began splintage at 3 months old and has been wearing EarBuddies for 4 weeks. Both ears look much better now, and I wondered whether we should keep going with splintage for another 2 months as recommended, or whether we can remove the splints now?

For splintage to be effective, the cartilage needs to be soft enough to be remoulded, and then to harden enough, by the end of the process, to retain the corrected shape.

When the cartilage is softer, it is more pliable and easier to reshape. However, if the splints are removed before the cartilage has hardened sufficiently to retain the new shape, this correction can easily be lost. It is a common mistake to take the splints off too early, after a quick initial response.

Conversely, when cartilage is harder, it is more resistant to change and takes longer to reshape, but once it has been moulded, it is better able to hold this shape permanently.

A fast initial response means that the cartilage is soft and easily moulded. However, in these instances, in order to effect a permanent correction, splintage must be maintained until the cartilage hardens. A slow start is therefore not predictive of a poorer end result provided you have splinted for at least the recommended time.

Our best advice is to be persistent and periodically photograph the progress.

I have seen some great results on your website of babies at the same age as my baby, at the same point in their splintage journey. I can’t yet see such great results in my baby’s ears. Is there still hope that we could achieve a similar result?

For splintage to be effective, the cartilage needs to be soft enough to be remoulded, and then to harden enough, by the end of the process, to retain the corrected shape.

When the cartilage is softer, it is more pliable and easier to reshape. However, if the splints are removed before the cartilage has hardened sufficiently to retain the new shape, this correction can easily be lost. It is a common mistake to take the splints off too early, after a quick initial response.

Conversely, when cartilage is harder, it is more resistant to change and takes longer to reshape, but once it has been moulded, it is better able to hold this shape permanently.

A fast initial response means that the cartilage is soft and easily moulded. However, in these instances, in order to effect a permanent correction, splintage must be maintained until the cartilage hardens. A slow start is therefore not predictive of a poorer end result provided you have splinted for at least the recommended time.

Our best advice is to be persistent and periodically photograph the progress.

I have splinted my baby’s Stick-Out ears for the recommended period, but I’m not sure if there is much difference. What would you advise now?

Our guidance table is a ‘rough guide’ only. Every ear is different and it may be that your baby’s ears would benefit from splinting for a little while longer. Breastfeeding also has an impact on the length of splintage required, so ensure you have adjusted for this accordingly.

As baby’s parent, you see the ears every day and it can be difficult to see what progress has been made over the whole period of splintage. If you continue with splinting for a while longer, you can see how to monitor progress here.

About 5% of babies are born with abnormally shaped or stick-out ears, but in a further 2%, the ear protrusion increases markedly in the first six months of life, some because the folds needed to keep the hardening cartilage against the side of the ear are missing, some because tiny muscles push the ears out, and some because the ears are easily caught and pushed out by external forces from things like hoods and head cosies. In these ears, it is necessary to overcome the forces driving the ears out, before they can be pushed back against the side of the head.  It is certainly likely that your baby’s ears are much better in appearance than they would otherwise have been without EarBuddies™, but we would recommend that you continue with splinting for a while longer yet.

Why is Mr. Gault not referred to as Doctor?

Surgeons with the FRCS qualification are known as Misters (Mr) as a result of British traditions in medical practice stretching as far back as the Middle Ages. Surgeons in the UK gain the title 'Dr' on completion of their medical school degree. Thereafter a further period of postgraduate study and training through junior posts is required before sitting exams to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. On gaining this degree the 'Dr' earns the right to drop the title and become 'Mr' again! See here for a detailed explanation on the Royal College of Surgeons website. David Gault FRCS dropped the title Dr. to become Mr. Gault again in 1982.

Why is FRCS written after Mr. Gault’s name?

The letters FRCS after a surgeons name indicate that he/she is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

“The letters FRCS after a surgeon's name mean that the surgeon's education and training, professional qualifications, and surgical competence have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College, of which the surgeon is a current Fellow”.

“Some surgeons only use the highest of their qualifications (eg. FRCS) in their correspondence or on their nameplates, rather than listing all the lesser degrees as well”. Source: Royal College of Surgeons